Grind for January 10th
“Let’s be naughty and save Santa the trip.” – Gary Allan
US Navy bans video-sharing app TikTok
The US Navy this week posted a “Cyber Awareness Message” on Facebook announcing its ban on Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, describing the app as a “cybersecurity threat.”
Members of the Navy caught using TikTok on government-issued devices will be blocked from the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.
The ban comes months after TikTok was accused of censoring all footage related to the protests in Hong Kong.
TikTok has been downloaded 1.3 billion times worldwide and 110 million times in the United States, yet a search for some of the most popular Hong Kong-related hashtags failed to yield a single video.
In September, reporters claimed the app was also censoring content related to the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibetan independence, and Falun Gong (a religious group banned in China).
Parents are worried TikTok is bringing Chinese-style censorship to their kids, lawmakers worry the app is sharing data with Beijing, and critics worry the app will be used to influence US politics – including elections.
In October, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) asked the Director of National Intelligence to investigate TikTok based on the possibility that it could pose a national security risk.
“National security experts have raised concerns about TikTok’s collection and handling of user data,” wrote Schumer in a letter to the US military, “including user content and communications, IP addresses, location-related data, metadata, and other sensitive personal information.”
The US military conducted a “security assessment” of the app in November and directed members not to use TikTok for recruitment purposes or to post videos while in uniform.
Based on the Navy’s decision, I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire military decides to ban TikTok in the name of national security.
Elizabeth Warren wins a big endorsement
Days after ending his own presidential campaign, Julián Castro announced his formal endorsement of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“Today I’m proud to endorse @ewarren for president,” tweeted Castro. “Elizabeth and I share a vision of America where everyone counts. An America where people – not the wealthy or well-connected – are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change.”
Castro and Warren will hold a joint rally later this week in Brooklyn.
Accompanying Castro’s twitter post is a dramatic video showing Castro driving to Warren’s house and sharing a cup of tea with her during an extended conversation.
“Nobody is working harder than you are, not only meeting people but listening to people,” says Castro.
The whole conversation hints that Warren could choose Castro for a running mate if she wins the Democratic nomination.
Castro’s decision to endorse Warren immediately after dropping out sets him apart from other failed Democrats (like Harris and O’Rourke) who seem to be waiting until the field gets a little smaller.
Even so, Castro’s announcement represents the highest-profile endorsement from a onetime 2020 candidate.
Overall, Bernie Sanders won the highest-profile endorsement when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) endorsed him last October. Frontrunner Joe Biden has the most endorsements from current and former office-holders, including several Congressmen and former Sec. of State John Kerry.
The most important endorser – former President Barack Obama – has no plans to endorse any candidate this early in the race.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… On average, the life span of an American dollar bill is eighteen months.